Irving police knew right away that MacArthur High School freshman Ahmed Mohamed, 14, did not have a bomb.
If they had thought his homemade electronic gizmo was anything other than a handmade clock, as he said, they would have cleared the area and imploded it.
It didn’t even look like a bomb. Only a box with wires.
Yet they handcuffed and removed Mohamed simply to investigate whether he meant to scare anyone and whether the clock violated Texas’ 1983 law against look-alike bombs.
Bomb threats are a common nuisance in today’s schools. Students and teachers are understandably concerned about safety and classroom disruption.
But it is not illegal to build a clock or wire up a box. Campus officers and city police must be careful not to waste precious time and resources on distractions, and school officials should not overreact.
Knowing it neither was a bomb nor looked up close like one, police still led Mohamed away in handcuffs, and school officials suspended him three days, claiming a violation of the code of conduct.
Mohamed has been invited to the White House to show off his clock. Irving officials should give him an apology to take along.